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Color Association of the United States records

Creation: 1915-1983
Accession: 1983


The Color Association of the United States (CAUS) was organized on February 19, 1915 as the Textile Color Card Association (TCCA) for the purpose of standardizing colors for the textile trade. Their records include minutes; reports; staff and membership files; publications; advertisements; cloth samples; seasonal bulletins; and color cards. Color standardization services for the government and various industries are documented as well.


  • Creation: 1915-1983



14 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The formation of the Color Association on February 19, 1915 was a result of the inability of America's textile industry to obtain fashion information and dyestuffs from Europe because of World War I. The Association, a non-profit organization, assumed the obligation of standardizing a list of staple colors to promote color coordination among the trades. The Association began standardizing colors for the U.S. government, the U.S. Armed Forces, and state governments and colleges in the 1920s. After World War II the Association began standardizing colors for industries outside the textile trade, such as the plastics industry, automobiles, home appliances, and motion pictures, radio, and television, and the paint industry.

The Association issues two types of color forecasting publications. The seasonal color card provides a color-forecasting service to the textile manufacturers to coordinate color selection for the seasonal fashion market. The Standard Color Reference of America presents colors for which there is a popular and continuing demand. This publication is in its tenth edition and includes cloth samples of over two hundred colors. A few of the standard colors are Old Glory Red and National Flag Blue for the U.S. flag, and Armed Forces colors Khaki and West Point Grey.

Scope and Content

Series I. Corporate records includes minutes of both Board of Directors' meetings and annual meetings; a few annual and financial reports; name change file; staff files; general correspondence; committee meeting memo books; membership files; Standard Color Card Reference of America; color determination files; advertising files; and a history file. The staff files include information regarding organization and job descriptions. The membership files are most complete for the years between 1978 and 1982, although there are meeting and information notices dating from 1915 to 1920. The color determination files date from 1940 to 1968 and describe publications about color harmony, color measurement, the Plochere Color System, references books, and spectrophotomet​ric and colormetric determination. The history file includes a copy of the first printed association color card.

Series II. Color standardization services document the Association's interaction with various branches of the Armed Forces (particularly Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy), the American Red Cross, Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. Capitol and the White House, Commerce Dept., Dept. of Defense, Postal Service and Veterans Administration, and date from 1929-1977. The White House file includes cloth samples of inaugural dresses. A file concerning the standardization of the colors of the U.S. flag follows. The series also documents the Association's color work for specific companies as well as various industries in general. Specific companies include: American Cyanamid Company, Color Helm, Color Key, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Globe Dye Works, International Municipal Signal Association and Sherwin-Williams Company. Industries featured include the boot and shoe industry; kitchen and bathroom accessories; plastics industry; radio, motion pictures, and television. These files include many cloth samples for color selection. Miscellaneous files include documentation of the 1939 New York World's Fair colors and American bicentennial colors. There are a few files concerning British royalty colors.

Series III. Color forecasts contains seasonal bulletins and color cards, as well as correspondence and cloth samples. These files document the pre-season color selection process, so cloth samples make up the bulk of this series. These bulletins were issued twice a year: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Color cards follow the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter timing. Cards are hard cover, and color samples are attached inside.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Color Association of the United States records
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA